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Dell Poweredge SC1420 ESXi 4.0 install issues

Posted on 2009-07-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I have a Dell Poweredge SC1420 that I am trying to install ESXi 4.0 on. When I try to install ESXi i get this error with a purple screen:                  

"The system has found a problem on your machine and cannot continue.
Unsupported BIOS setting (CPUID) is limited. Disable 'limit CPUID value' or 'Support legacy/NT4 OS in BIOS'

I found the following work arounds on several different threads/forums:

1. At the initial bootloader screen (when booting from the ISO), press TAB to edit the boot options
2. Hold down the left-arrow key to move the cursor back to the beginning of the boot options, and add "nocheckCPUIDLimit" right after "vmkernel.gz", so that the first part of the boot options BEFORE the first "---" reads: "mboot.c32 vmkernel.gz nocheckCPUIDLimit ---"
3. Press ENTER.

I have tried this and I get an error that states "not a multiboot system" and setup starts over. Anyone have ideas?
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Question by:benkolb
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Expert Comment

by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24805896
Whenever you are trying to install VMware Products, please check the HCL or Hardware Compatibility List to check whether the product which you are trying to install is supported.

This URL shows that the Hardware on which you are trying to install is not suppored -
http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?action=search&deviceCategory=server&productId=1&advancedORbasic=advanced&maxDisplayRows=50&key=PowerEdge+&release[]=29&datePosted=-1&partnerId[]=23&formFactorId[]=-1&cpuModeId[]=-1&cpuName[]=-1&chipset[]=-1&stepping=&nsockets=&ncores=&max_mem=&rorre=0
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by:benkolb
ID: 24805929
I am aware of the compatabity issue, but I would still like to see this work since others have got this going.
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by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24806464
Please update the Hardware on which you are trying to install.
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by:benkolb
ID: 24806483
I have the latest BIOS installed (A04), is there something else I should try?
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by:paulsolov
ID: 24806958
Ensure that the CPU supports EMT64, otherwise you will not be able to run ESX 4.0.  What type of processor is in the system?
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Author Comment

by:benkolb
ID: 24807526
Single Intel Xeon 2.8Ghz
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by:paulsolov
ID: 24807873
If it's the one I'm thinking about I don't believe that it has EMT64 (64 bit capability) which means that it is not ESX 4.0 capable.  

Easy way to check is either look up the service tag and get the actual model for the cpu or try to install 64 bit windows 2003/2008 and see if it fails.
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by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24807884
You need a minimum of 2 Processor Sockets for a successful VMware ESX Installation.

URL - http://pubs.vmware.com/vsp40/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm#href=install/c_esx_hw.html
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Assisted Solution

by:paulsolov
paulsolov earned 75 total points
ID: 24807945
I have it running on single proc servers, dl320 g5, DL360 G4, etc..I thik the most important piece is

ESX Hardware Requirements
Using ESX requires specific hardware and system resources.
64-Bit Processor
   VMware ESX 4.0 will only install and run on servers with 64-bit x86 CPUs.

   Known 64-bit processors:

   All AMD Opterons support 64 bit.

   All Intel Xeon 3000/3200, 3100/3300, 5100/5300, 5200/5400, 7100/7300, and 7200/7400 support 64 bit.

   All Intel Nehalem (no Xeon brand number assigned yet) support 64 bit.
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by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24808034
Thank you for clarifying that point, paulsolov.

I was under the impression that ESX 4.0 required a minimum of 2 Procs which was ESX 3.0 requirement.

ESX 3.0 URL - http://pubs.vmware.com/vi35u2/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm

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by:paulsolov
ID: 24808174
I've actually installed ESX 3.0/3.5 on single proc servers without any issues, the same DL320, whiteboxes, etc..  I've even installed it in vmware workstation with a single proc.  

Most of the licenses are now per 2 proc, meaning that you can use a single license on a 2 proc system vs the old licensing model where it was 1 license per 1 cpu
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Assisted Solution

by:dnilson
dnilson earned 75 total points
ID: 24809648
I dont have any trouble installing on single processor boxes either, for any of the above host versions.

Also haven had these issues with ESX3.5 on Dell SC1420, but the damn box inst a 2950, despite the similarity in paper specs.

The bigest issue is the higest order address line simply inst there, and it is necessary to get ESXi running reliably.  Yes you can find hacks for almost everythign, but are you going to sleep at night with this rig?  

While the setup tells you to make a BIOS setting (thanks for the suggestion) its simply not possible due to the motherboard design, as confirmed by Dell Tech support.  The high order adress line wasnt implemented by Dell (suppose they are protecting 2950 market share?) as the box is so inexpensive as compared to dedicated hardware hosts like the 2950 and its sucessors.

So again, yo may find a way to trick i into installing, but this isnt the box you want for ESXi 4.0.  3.5 maybe but not 4.0.

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Accepted Solution

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benkolb earned 0 total points
ID: 24812584
I figured it out.

I installed ESX 3.5 with the command that I found in the original post. I then proceeded to update to 4.0 using the vSphere Host Update Utility. The server upgraded fine and things seem to be working properly.

P.S.- This box is for a test environment and won't be used in production. I have a couple of projects that I need to try on ESX 4. Thanks every one for the help and suggestions!
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